top of page

“The Lamentation of Christ” by Giotto di Bondone

The wailing of Christ, which portrays the moment of wrath over Christ’s dead body, is a well-liked motif throughout art history

Scenes from the Life of Christ: 20. Lamentation of Christ (c. 1304–1306) by Giotto di Bondone

The Lamentation of Christ by Giotto di Bondone, which is part of a collection of frescoes that cover the interior of the chapel in Padua, Italy, is one of the works that will be examined in more detail below.

Several figures are grouped around the figure of Jesus Christ, who is laying motionless on the ground after He was taken down from the crucifixion, in Giotto’s painting Lamentation.

Mother Mary is supporting His head and upper torso in her arms, while Mary Magdalene is holding His feet, so His body doesn’t seem to be entirely on the ground.

A woman is holding Jesus’ left wrist while standing half bent over His body and elevating.

His arm, while a second figure is holding Jesus’ right wrist while facing away from us, the spectators, and lifting His arm as well.

In the bottom left corner, a second person is seated with their back to us, caressing Jesus’ head.

A close-up of The Lamentation of Christ (c. 1304–1306) by Giotto di Bondone

If we turn our attention to the persons surrounding Jesus Christ, we see three individuals to the right; the man standing with his arms outstretched and stooping down to touch Jesus’s body is thought to be John the Apostle.

Joseph of Arimathea, who stands to the left with a longer beard, and Nicodemus, who is positioned to his left, are thought to be the two men standing behind John the Apostle (our right).

In the Holy Bible’s Gospel of John (Verses 19, 38–42), both men are mentioned and given the responsibility of wrapping and burial Jesus Christ’s body.

A close-up of The Lamentation of Christ (c. 1304–1306) by Giotto di Bondone

A line of people can be seen leaving the composition and blending into the backdrop.

The faces of the two people in the front appear distressed and sorrowful; the one on the left has her hands raised and looks like she is crying, and the person on the other side (our right) has her hands clasped and are resting against her left cheek in a silent sadness.

A close-up of The Lamentation of Christ (c. 1304–1306) by Giotto di Bondone

Ten cherub-like angels with wings can be seen in the composition’s upper section, flying in the sky above.

They also appear to be grieving; some are sobbing openly, while others are more solemnly hunched over in mourning.

The angels in the picture above have golden haloes, but only some of the figures below have haloes.

The figures’ haloes may allude to their divine significance in the picture and the larger Biblical story from which they come

Details of The Lamentation of Christ (c. 1304–1306) by Giotto di Bondone

In the composition’s middleground and behind the foreground people, there is a sloping ridge. A tree with only a few leaves sprouting from the tops of its branches can be seen on its tip to the right of the composition.

The tree might be the Tree of Knowledge, according to certain sources.

The sloping ridge also alludes to Heaven and Earth by suggesting a separation and link between the sky above and the earth below.

Additionally, it directs our attention to the front scene.

A detail of TheLamentation of Christ (c. 1304–1306) by Giotto di Bondone

The Lamentation’s mood centers on seeming sorrow and grief over the death of Jesus Christ.

Giotto gave the figures a naturalistic humanity that we, the viewers, can definitely identify to by either portraying them in a state of silent grief, as was noted above, or a more openly regretful expression, as is shown in the way their lips are opened.

He is frequently referred to as the “Father of the Renaissance” and had an impact on many artists, including Masaccio and Leonardo da Vinci.

Giotto is a requirement for anybody studying the Renaissance, and while we’ve just touched on our examination of Giotto’s “Lamentation,” one of his most well-known pieces of art, above, we nevertheless urge you to learn more.


bottom of page